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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 11, 2020)

The Wall Street Journal looks at Airbnb’s rising IPO valuation. The New York Times and the Washington Post examine the consequences of the stalled stimulus package and how states are trying to mitigate the damage. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. States Try to Rescue Small Businesses as U.S. Aid Is Snarled “With the economic recovery faltering and federal aid stalled in Washington, state governments are stepping in to try to help small businesses survive the pandemic winter. The Colorado legislature held a special session last week to pass an economic aid package. Ohio is offering a new round of grants to restaurants, bars and other businesses affected by the pandemic. And in California, a new fund will use state money to backstop what could ultimately be hundreds of millions of dollars in private loans.” (The New York Times)
  2. Airbnb’s Road to IPO: Mounting Valuation and Costs “A pandemic that brought global travel to a standstill couldn’t halt Airbnb Inc.’s hotly anticipated public debut. While business is still down overall and nowhere close to pre-pandemic levels, the San Francisco home-rental startup has gained ground over rivals in the hotel industry as people have ventured into small towns and cities to work remotely, or taken a manageable break from a health crisis that has largely kept them at home.” (Wall Street Journal)
  3. Stealing to Survive: More Americans Are Shoplifting Food as Aid Runs Out During the Pandemic “Retailers, police departments and loss prevention researchers are reporting an uptick in theft of necessities, like food and hygiene products.” (Washington Post)
  4. More Borrowers Fell Behind on Commercial Mortgages in November “There was an increase in borrowers who fell behind on commercial mortgage payments in November.” (Bloomberg)
  5. Top Five Commercial Mortgage Servicing Issues to Watch in 2021 “While most will be monitoring increased infections and the progress of vaccine distribution and effectiveness, loan servicing and asset management professionals will have some additional factors impacting their organizations and books of business in the new year. The first half of 2020 was perhaps best classified as a pivot to a predominantly portfolio management environment for most lenders with the market for new originations beginning to pick up somewhat for the balance of the year.” (MBA Newslink)
  6. U.S. Mall Owners Are Buying Up Distressed Retailer Tenants. Will Canadian Counterparts Follow? “As Canadian retailers ranging from small shops to major mall anchors struggle to survive the pandemic, there are suggestions the country’s major shopping-centre landlords could take a page out of the playbook in the United States, where rent collectors have turned into owners by snapping up the assets or operations of those struggling to pay. In Canada, some of the largest shopping centre landlords are housed within well-capitalized pension funds that could afford to buy key tenants to preserve the value of their holdings, said Bradley Snyder, executive managing director of Tiger Capital Group.” (Financial Post)
  7. Public Storage Expands with $528M Portfolio Acquisition “Public Storage has acquired 24 properties with 2.3 million square feet of space from Beyond Self Storage in the first phase of a 36-property portfolio transaction totaling 3.6 million square feet and valued at $528 million. The first phase includes existing properties built since 2016, with an average occupancy of approximately 35 percent.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. CVS Health CEO Says It Has 10,000 Staffers Ready to Vaccinate Seniors at Nursing Homes “Merlo said the company has 10,000 health care professionals ready to administer the shots in nursing homes and assisted living centers. He said the company “has been hiring individuals since this pandemic began” to help with Covid-19 testing. And, he added, it has experience giving seasonal flu shots at long-term care facilities.” (CNBC)
  9. Real Estate Debacles Loomed Large on Faulconer’s Watch “Buildings have always held an outsize place in San Diego city politics – whether it’s stadiums, the Convention Center or more mundane structures like office space to hold city workers. On Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s watch, multiple real estate acquisitions devolved into scandal, costing the city time and taxpayer money. In one of the biggest disasters of his administration, city employees aren’t working out of 101 Ash St. four years after the city acquired the downtown high-rise in a controversial lease-to-own agreement, and the city has since been hit with costly renovation bills, asbestos violations and an explosion of legal claims.” (Voice of San Diego)
  10. Starbucks Eyes Walk-Thru Stores, Technology to Power Post-Pandemic Growth “Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said customers will flock back to cafes once the coronavirus pandemic is over, even as the company builds more walk-thru locations without seating in major cities. After efforts to expand U.S. suburban drive-thru locations, the world’s largest coffee chain is creating a similar experience for customers on foot. Orders are to be primarily digital, paid for in advance, as the company shifts to new store formats in response to changing habits.” (Reuters)
  11. Backlash to Newsom’s Lockdown Order Grows—Rural Communities Refuse to Comply “Little changed this week at Steve’s Sportsmans Cafe, despite the new, far-reaching shutdown orders that cover much of the Sierra foothills. The small restaurant in mountainous Mariposa County, with its game mounts and American flags, continued to serve up chicken-fried steak and braised beef ribs. Owner Steve Knauf, 60, said he’s just not interested in taking cues from Sacramento anymore.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
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